Thursday, December 18, 2014

All Things Merry and Bright

     Yesterday was a rough day for me.  My sweet fur baby Bruce has recently gotten over a bout of Pancreatitis which put him through the ringer.  The vet gave him a clean bill of health just two weeks ago, but Tuesday I was back in the vet's office with the same symptoms as before.  Apparently Bruce had Chronic Pancreatitis which meant he would continually get these infections that would require treatment until his pancreas finally wore out.  After seeing what he went through last time with this, and knowing that it would be something he was continually fighting, J and I made the decision to let him go.  It was probably the hardest choice I've ever made.  I want to fix everyone and everything, and so to come to the realization that there was nothing I could do to cure him was one of the hardest pills for me to swallow.  So today with a heavy heart I said goodbye to what was the best cat I've ever had.  He truly was my baby, and I will miss him terribly.  Some people don't believe in a place for animals in Heaven.  Others will tell you they don't have souls.  Everyone is entitled to their opinion, so here's mine: no one who has ever truly bonded with an animal could tell you that they don't have something similar to a soul.  Maybe not a soul like you and I have, but some shred of a spirit perhaps.  There's more to these animals than flesh and bone.  Or maybe we just make them that in our own heads to fill a void.  I don't know, but either way, I hope I get to see him again someday.  It's a nice thought, and a comforting one.

     Now I know the title of this blog is probably leading some to question if they've been brought here under false pretenses, and to those I apologize.  Usually I keep this blog light and fluffy and don't post too many entries that are morose or "deep".  I feel like the world is full of things that should make up stop and think, and that it needs more light and frolicsome things.  So that's what I try to make this blog, for myself as much as for anyone else.  So forgive me if I seem to take a 180 in a minute, but I am going to focus on all things merry and bright now, because as much as I'd like to wail about the loss of my favorite snuggle-buddy, life does go on.  So, not to be disrespectful or flippant about my recent loss, but what don't we move on to the happy things now?  How about I show you what that little elf of ours has been up to?

     Here we see our sweet Elman enjoying his favorite Christmas story while Monkey was at school.  I am particularly proud of this one because I needed no help from Pinterest to make his custom fitting glasses from a little paperclip I found in the junk drawer.  It would have been a bit better if I could have found my stash of regular wire, because it's more pliable, but Monkey got the idea.  I used a bit of black construction paper and some looseleaf to make his book.  I even went so far as to write out a bit of the actual story in the pages so he wasn't staring at a blank book.  

     This one was pretty fun because it uses one of my favorite kid toys.  I'm not sure if you are familiar with Goldie Blox, but if not you should be.  This is an awesome company that was started by a female engineer who wanted to see more toys on the market that got little girls interested in engineering.  I love all that this company stands for, so of course Monkey has a couple of their building sets.  The one seen pictured here is their original boxed set, and as you can see, Elman is taking his cues from Goldie.  He used her "Noodle Spinner" diagram to create his own "Tinsel Tangler".

     Next Elman sampled a few of cookies, only to spit them out and question my husband's baking skills.  Even he knew cookies that gross couldn't have been my doing ;-)

     Here we see Elman visiting Baby Jesus under the tree.  Monkey thought this one was too cute.

     Next, we what I didn't realize was a warped sight until just now.  J took Monkey hunting one morning, so Elman decided he'd go hunting too.  He improvised when he couldn't find a toy gun in Monkey's room and borrowed Iron Patriot's blaster to hunt down this little piggy.  And it looks like all the members of the manager scene are protecting baby Jesus from the horrible sight.  Elman actually gave up the hunt and retreated to a stocking not long after this picture because Bruce decided to make the hunter the hunted and almost made off with our elf.

     This one was a favorite of mine, simply because I hadn't made a single fake snowflake since I was in school, so it was fun to stay up late cutting these suckers out as J and I played cards.  Of course, Elman needed a fabulous addition to his little elf hat.

     Next, Elman helped himself to a spa day by borrowing Barbie's jacuzzi.  Monkey got in a bit of hot water herself when she decided Elman needed real water to soak in, and decided to fill up his jacuzzi with the real stuff.  The funny thing was, I didn't have cotton balls to fill his spa with, so I improvised by using the stuffing from a pad (I know, J was mortified, but hear me out).  I figured it looked the same, and know one had to know, but I'm glad I did, because when Monkey poured the water in there, none of it even made it to the elf.  It was all absorbed so fast he stayed nice and dry.  Score one for mommy's resourcefulness!

     This is another one I'm proud of because I didn't need Pinterest for it....well not 100% of it anyway.  I've seen several shots of the elf in the Rice Krispies box, but I decided to tailor it to what we had in the pantry.  So there, Pinterest, I see your Rice Krispies Elf, and I raise you a Quaker Oats Elf.  Your move Pinterest...

     Now one more thing before I go.  I'm waaay behind on our Advent Calendar, so I need to share the past few ornaments in order to catch up.  I believe we left off with Day 9.

Day 10: The Trumpet

     The trumpet symbolizes the fall of Jericho, and the story can be found in Joshua 6:1-5.  I reminded Monkey of God's promise to Abraham about his children numbering the stars, and how God had seen that one through.  Then I reminded Monkey of His promise to Jacob of the land He would give him.  This is where God fulfilled that promise, by bringing them into the Promised Land, starting with Jericho.  J and I marched around our house to show how the people of God marched around, and how they could have said, "that's silly, I'm not doing that", but instead they decided to follow God's directions, and when they did they were rewarded with the land that had been promised to them.

To make this ornament, I cut out a trumpet from yellow felt and stitched it onto a bit of blue rectangular felt.  Next I used yellow thread to form the little lines that make it look like the trumpet is blasting.  Then I added a bit of blue cord to hang it on the tree with.

Day 11: The Grain

     Next Monkey and I discussed how there was a famine, meaning no food, in the Promised Land so one man moved with his wife and sons to the neighboring land (I related this to how we moved from Lousisiana to Mississippi not too long ago to make it make sense to her), and how while they were there the two sons married women from that country (Moab).  I explained that these women didn't grow up worshiping God, but that they came to know God through their husbands.  Next we talked about how the sons and the father all died, leaving the three women alone.  The mother-in-law told her daughters-in-law to go back to their own families so they might find new husbands, and how one daughter did.  But Ruth was different, she decided to follow her mother-in-law back to the Promised Land, and I mentioned how she wasn't simply choosing her mother-in-law, but that she was choosing to follow God as well.  Because of her faithfulness, God rewarded her.  While in the Promised Land, she worked for a man picking grain so she could feed herself and her mother-in-law.  The man, Boaz, saw how hard she worked, and heard of her faithfulness, and decided to marry her.  I told Monkey that because she chose God, she became special in His eyes, and He rewarded her by making her the ancestor of Jesus (instead of "ancestor" I said "great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great- grandmother of Jesus, so she'd get it).  (For this one, I read the entire book of Ruth and simply condensed it for Monkey.)

For this ornament I took a circle of grey felt and used yellow and black thread to stitch what (I think) looks like heads of grain on the circle.  I backed it with another grey circle and added some cord to hang it.

Day 12: The Crown

     Before I started this story, I asked J and Monkey to help list a few of God's other names.  Monkey said Heavenly Father, Lord, and Majesty.  J said King of Kings, and that's exactly what I was fishing for.  God is the King of Kings, but I mentioned that once the Israelites got the land God had promised, they began to ask Him for a king.  God told them that He was the King of Kings, and that they didn't need an earthly king, but the people insisted they needed a king like the other nations.  God warned them that a human king would tax them and draft their sons into his service, and use their daughters to serve in his court, and he would take away some of their personal freedoms, but still the people insisted, so God told Samuel (God's prophet) to find a king for His people.  Samuel anointed Saul as the king.  I emphasized that Saul was big and strong and handsome, and that all the people thought he would make a good king.  Which he did, for a little while...  (This comes from 1 Samuel 8:4-22-1 Samuel 9:2 and 1 Samuel 9:17)

To make this ornament, I cut a crown shape form yellow felt, and then backed it on a circle-shaped piece of pink felt.  I made little knots out of purple threads to resemble jewels in the crown, and use black thread to highlight the crown's parts.  Finally I added a bit of blue cord to hand it on the tree with.

Day 13: The Horn of Oil

     I explained to Monkey that for a while Saul was a good king, but then he began to turn away from God and not follow God's instructions, so God told Samuel to go anoint a new king.  So Samuel took a horn of oil (here I had to pause and explain that one too), and went out to the house of Jesse (who was a descendent of Ruth, remember Ruth?) and asked to see his sons.  I told her how the first son came in, and he was tall and handsome and strong, and Samuel was impressed, thinking he'd be the next king, but God said no.  God told Samuel that Samuel was judging by what he saw on the outside, but that God sees a man's heart to judge him.  Then the second son came, and he was was too passed by, and so on and so forth until Samuel had looked at all but the youngest of Jesse's sons.  David was out in the fields with the sheep, and so Samuel sent for him, and when he came in, God said that this is the one He wanted to be king of His people.  So Samuel poured the oil on David's head, anointing him king of Israel.  (1 Samuel 16: 1-13)

For this ornament I cut out two pieces of light brown felt into J-shapes.  I stitched them to get using dark brown felt in a way that highlighted the opening of the horn and the bottom of it.  I used the brown thread to also make a strap for the horn of oil.  Next I used a bit of green cord for hanging.

 Day 14: The Jesse Tree

     This one was a little different, because I wasn't sure of where in the sequence to place it, but after talking about Ruth, Jesse, and David, I decided to go ahead and put this one in.  The scripture is from Isaiah 11: 1-5, and I read this one verbatim from the Bible.  It talks about a sprout growing from the tree of Jesse that was all but cut down, and how this sprout would have the spirit of wisdom and understanding, counsel and might, and knowledge and fear/respect of the Lord.  Basically this scripture foretells the coming of Christ.  I explained to Monkey that even hundreds of years before he was born, God was telling His people that there would be a savior one day.

This was one of my favorite ornaments to make.  I cut out two of the stump-with-branch shapes you see, and place them back-to-back, with a bit of green felt to resemble a leaf between the top of the branch.  I stitch the leaf in place before using dark brown thread to make the tree rings and little details on the stump.  Lastly, I added the blue cord for hanging.

Day 15: The Scepter
     This story comes from another favorite passage of mine.  I love the book of Esther, and I used a condensed version of the whole thing to explain this one to Monkey.  Basically Esther was a young Jewish girl being brought up by her uncle, and when the king asked for the most beautiful women in the land to be brought to him, Esther was one of them.  She hid the fact that she was one of the Israelites from everyone but her uncle, and she was chosen to be the king's new bride.  She became queen and found favor with the king, so when a plot was hatched to kill all of the Jews in the nation (including her uncle) Esther used her favor with the king to beg him to spare the Jewish, revealing that she was one herself.  The king granted her wish, and so Esther saved her people from being wiped out.  This was yet another example of how God was protecting His people and preserving the bloodline that led to Jesus.

I'm still trying to think of ways to make this one prettier, but I've got nothing.  I simply cut out what I thought was a basic scepter shape from two pieces of yellow felt, and sewed them together back-to-back.  Next I added the little purple starts to look like jewels in the scepter.  Finally I added a bit of green cord for hanging.

To see our Advent adventure from the beginning, click here.
To see what comes next, click here

1 comment:

  1. LOVE the Advent calendar. You did a wonderful job! And I just woke up the baby giggling at your resourcefulness!